January 24th, 2012

Thoughts on the campaign so far

It’s been interesting—as in, “may you live in interesting times.”

It seems long already. And although previous presidential election years have featured heated battles, this one seems even more heated.

Maybe I’m just not remembering correctly. But there’s an element abroad in the Republican land that seems more vicious and more sparked by anger than ever before. And that’s not an indictment of any particular candidate, although I think that at the moment Gingrich is riding that anger and Romney is more the recipient of it. But the anger preceded both of them.

For me as a blogger, this campaign represents a dilemma. Not the dilemma you might think I mean; I’m not torn about who to support. I’ll do what I always do there: observe, think, and call it as I see it. If I change my mind at some point—well then, that’s something that’s happened before, isn’t it?

No, the problem is that this campaign season has raised enough issues to keep me writing in all my free time and then some. I’ve got notes for about twenty in-depth, magazine-article-long pieces, each of which would take me about fifty hours to research and write with any sort of adequacy.

I won’t be getting to most of them, but they’re about larger issues than this campaign: the place of anger in American politics, the class war that’s fomenting and being fomented by both sides (a rather unique moment in history, I believe), attitudes towards capitalism and its morality, the popular notion that there are “elites” on either side who are the puppeteers in the process that selects the eventual nominee, “establishment” Republicans vs. supposedly non-establishment ones, how the term “flip-flop” is used as a pejorative and whether it means more than to change one’s mind, the extremes of right and left and what they want to happen in America (and how they resemble each other and how they differ).

That’s just a few. You can see my dilemma.

For me, the unease of the campaign season began as the first candidates I would have liked to have seen enter the race refused to do so. Oh, I thought, if that one says no, it’s okay because surely that one will say yes.

But it was not to be, and I think that’s at least part of what’s driving the general anger here: who among us still has a candidate in the race that he/she would have chosen at the outset? Or forget that dream: who among us has a candidate in the race that he/she still considers to be a good one?

Some of you may think there is; I don’t. I just don’t. And that’s not whining and wanting the moon; I’ve never felt so negative about a slate in all the years I’ve been observing these things (although I have to say that the 2008 Republicans were a close second).

I also think the extraordinary number of debates has been a big mistake. I’ve never liked debates (or even speeches, for that matter) to begin with. I think that debates give the press too much power to shape the event, and emphasize superficial characteristics and mostly lead to sound bites and ways to discredit perfectly reasonable candidates. Debates with a lot of characters (as these earlier debates featured) especially favor the short punchy and nearly meaningless statement.

The result that I sense from all of this (and apparently the editors of the WSJ agree with me, although they’re a bit nastier about it) is that the Republican candidate will lose. That was always a concern for me, although at first I thought Obama especially ripe for the picking. But the whole crew is so tarnished now that Obama will start looking a lot better to more and more of the American public—or at least, to enough of them for him to squeak out a win.

That thought troubles me greatly. Should I be philosophical and say, as the WSJ seems to be saying: then Republicans deserve it? Maybe, but I don’t think the country deserves it.

Those who champion this candidate or that one with more enthusiasm than I seem to think victory’s in the bag. That we could nominate anyone who can speak and breathe and the country will vote for him/her in a wild spasm of rage against Obama. I say no; won’t happen—just cause you’re that angry at Obama doesn’t mean most people are, nor does it mean that the majority of voters wouldn’t be even more repulsed by the Republican candidate du jour.

81 Responses to “Thoughts on the campaign so far”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Short form: Every time I contemplate the current raft of candidates I get the sensation of a small throwup in the back of my throat.

  2. Bob Kantor Says:

    You say that class warfare has been engaged in by both sides. That’s true in the same way that there was anti-Semitism in both the U.S. and Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

    The conduct of the Left, led by President Obama, has been particularly egregious in this regard. Not too long ago the main topic of concern was the out-of-control spending and indebtedness of the federal government. Now, as a consequence of speech after speech by the president, and the numerous assaults on the public order by the leftist brown shirts known as the Occupy movement, the public airwaves are saturated by talk about the top one percent and the unfairness of the current system.

    Those who rail against this inequality would do well to ask themselves the following: (1) What in their judgment is the most equitable income distribution? (2) What are the criteria for determining this distribution? (3) Who would establish these criteria? (4) How would we go about implementing (enforcing) this ideal distribution? and (5) To what extent would such a leveling of incomes severely diminish personal liberty and paradoxically result in even greater income inequality?

    The last question is not an academic one. The demons released by class warfare do not stop at punishing the top one percent. They usually end up devouring entire societies, where personal freedoms are crushed, a two-class system (the rulers and everyone else) is established, and whole classes are annihilated. We do not have to look far to identify such societies. Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia come readily to mind. And the passions that animated the creators of these nightmarish societies — hatred of capitalism and of the rich — were the same passions that animate most of the Occupiers and the Left in this country today.

  3. Mr. Frank Says:

    I think it is important to note that much has changed since the last presidential election. Millions have lost their jobs. Many have lost their homes, savings, and insurance. Far more young people have college debt they can’t pay. The number of food stamp recipients has ballooned.

    In normal times such things would badly hurt the sitting president, but I think the fear is so deep and widespread that a “caring” president may trump a party talking fiscal responsibility and individual rights.We may have more people in the wagon than pulling the wagon. When children skin their knee they want their mommy.

  4. Tom Says:

    I’ve not been very optimistic for a very long time. I initially liked Pawlenty a lot. I felt he had the characterisitcs that would be required to win the primary and the general. I also think this sort of hand wringing goes on in both parties until there is an actual nominee. Once there’s a nominee, then people coalesce around that person. I think that there is a righteous anger against what I’d call “The Ruling Class” (borrowed/stolen) because I think a lot of us feel betrayed by them at every level. Businesses laying off people, or cutting wages while CEOs are taking home millions of dollars (seen it), CEOs fired and given massive golden parachutes while their companies collapsed, government officials gaming the system for their own benefit, teachers and priests molesting the kids they’re supposed to protect, Fannie and Freddie making loans they NEVER should have made, and then sticking the tax payers with the bill, and in the meantime many of us have been doing what we’re supposed to do. We get up, go to work, pay our bills on time, pay our taxes and we’re getting stuck with consequences of a lot of other people’s actions. I myself have gotten up MANY mornings and thought WTF!?!?!?! why do I keep doing this. Let the house, that’s worth about a third of what I paid for it, go into foreclosure, have the government write down my mortgage, quit working, get my 52 weeks of unemployment, etc… I feel like a schmuck. I feel like while I’ve been doing the things that I was supposed to do, the American dream has been stolen from me by whole slew of bad actors, (politicians, banks, people who took mortgages they couldn’t afford, car corporations/unions that failed to manage their business) and I’m getting the bill for it. To be honest with you, I’m kinda sick of it. I served my country and was willing to give my life, should it come to that. I’ve always voted. I haven’t always been perfect, but I’ve learned from my mistakes, and tried to do better, and make my mistakes right and accept their consequences. I’ve always believed that while our economic and political system was far from perfect, it gave the most people the most opportunity to have the highest standard of living. I feel that our leaders on both sides of the aisle have failed us in order to line their own pockets and increase their own power. So yeah, I’m kinda pissed. I kinda want to see them hurting for a change. Maybe I’m just a cynic. Sorry for the long rant.

  5. chuck Says:

    @Mr. Frank,

    Hard to say. I suspect Obama has a pretty safe base somewhere between 40%-45% of the vote. That may be amazing given the state of the country, but then, I thought it amazing that Kerry could get more than 30% of the vote ;) I think a strong Republican candidate could win, but for either Mitt or Gingrich it’s going to be iffy at best. Mitt isn’t a very good politician, and the Dems are going to go after Bain like a tiger shark after chum. A better politician could handle it, Romney, I think not. Gingrich is unpredictable, and his claims not to have been an insider and not to have been a lobbyist are laughable. And that is without getting to the marital stuff.
    I think we are poorly served by the current slate of candidates.

    And I agree about the debates, the questions don’t deal with the current situation and the candidates haven’t the time to develop a point. It is a reflection of the continuing monopoly of big media on getting the message out. That problem isn’t as bad as it was, but it isn’t anywhere near solved.

  6. stumbley Says:

    A solution: No taxation without representation. If “your government” doesn’t represent you, then don’t pay your taxes.
    5,000 people not paying taxes is a problem for the 5,000. Five MILLION not paying taxes is a problem for the “government”…and they’ll be forced to listen.

  7. gcotharn Says:

    I am not distraught over the Repub candidates. This truth wants to be known: Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, Paul … are each far better than Obama. This truth wants to be known: it is the DEMOCRATIC slate, of one candidate, which is historically and almost impossibly weak.

    I like the debates. Iron sharpens iron.

    Repubs cannot hide dirt. Only Dems and media can hide dirt. Let the dirt come out in January instead of September: let us see, now, what are the ramifications. Let us shove everything in front of voters: Here it is, all of it: accept it or reject it, but here it all is. Let us trust the wisdom of crowds. Let us be fair to Repub voters, and let us give those voters a chance. I trust Repub voters more than I trust Georgette Mosbacher. http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/culture/2011/10/3609389/romney-time-christie-holdout-gop-bundlers-finally-ready-settle-mitt

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Just as there are two ways to think about winning independent voters: pander to them vs. persuade them towards your ideology … so there are two ways to think about the goal of this election:
    1) stop the bleeding!!!!! OMG STOP THE BLEEDING!!!!!
    vs
    2) remain calm, remove the bullet, then stop the bleeding.

  8. Brad Says:

    Tom’s post, for the win.

    Chuck, Obama’s “base” isn’t progressive economic leftists (many of whom will be staying home in disgust, like it or not Obama is owned by Wall Street) it’s the “Lifelong Democrat” partisans and Sexual and Racial grievance groups of all types.

    What’s tearing this country apart is basically two things: The outsourcing of our economy overseas due to lax labor laws in our treaties causing tremendous stress and familial /community disruption AND the splitting of America into various racial groups and ( arguably, incredibly, with the feminists) a significant portion of single women both child free and childless who identify with the “Party of Women” because the feminists tell them so. This h as now reached a “head”. Read Kos, read Talkleft (a place I respect far more than Kos but alas, there stance on immigration is so bad it basically makes them traitors) and you’ll see that demographically they think they are about ready to take the country, the votes of white males being esp disdained by them.

    Obama may mouth the words, but his policies tell all. He’s not an economic populist, he’s an authoritarian racial demagogue who serves himself and perhaps his “race” before all others.

  9. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Has anyone noted that Santorum is the only Republican candidate that did not cheat on multiple ill wives nor is tarnished with social welfare programs and massive layoffs? He also clearly has demonstrated intestinal fortitude.

    As for Obama’s base, should he be re-elected we have this compensation, the fools who voted for him will have to live with the results, which any modest intelligence can see will be catastrophic. That said I wonder if the pessimism I detect here is warranted. Remember Obama was knocked flatter than a pancake a mere two years after the press hailed his election as the second coming, and he is less popular now than he was in 2010. At the very least the Dems will lose the Senate. I have been playing with 270to win, if the Republican can take all of Bush’s 2004 states minus NV, CO and NM he can still win. He will need IA, VA, NC, OH and FL all of which look good on the basis of 2010.

    As for equality of wealth; here is something I came across in de Tocqueville’s Reflections on the Old Regime a few days ago, “equality only exist in despotisms”.

  10. kaba Says:

    I don’t discount the anger. But it is more than that. People are afraid. If they are still employed there is a good chance that a respected relative, friend, or neighbor isn’t. They’ve seen foreclosure signs on homes in their own neighborhood and perhaps on their own street. There is a good chance if they still have their home that they are underwater on their mortgage; or at minimum their home has lost 20 to 30% of the former value. Their 401k may be higher than ever. But they also realize at some level that the future purchasing power will be ravaged by inflation. And gas prices have doubled and grocery prices are climbing while their income has not.

    Europe and the euro are doing a delicate balancing act on the precipice. And the entire mid-east is a tinderbox just primed for the right spark.

    Both the president and congress seem intent on scoring political points and insuring their re-election. And those problems will still be available for resolution after November.

    To a degree we are wanting a hero; a savior; someone who can step in and make things “right” again. It isn’t going to happen. We are where we are because of 50 years of bad choices, greed, and selfishness. There aren’t any saviors and no easy solutions.

  11. chuck Says:

    Obama’s “base” isn’t progressive economic leftists

    Never said it was, but he is going to get 40%-45% of the vote no matter what. That is the base he starts from.

  12. DNW Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what makes Ron Paul a Republican.

    What, did he get lonely over at the Libertarian open house and decide to follow his saner brethren who had decamped some years before, over to the Republican party?

    And Gingrich. Admit his contributions. Admire the effort and drive that went into standing on the virtually empty floor of the House chamber night after night, leveraging off-hours C-Span coverage into a political revolution.

    But while admitting that he would probably be better than Obama overall, and that he would certainly espouse better political principles in the abstract, do we want as a first recourse yet another man who’s that obviously emotionally needy: a man who craves involvement in politics in order to salve his childhood wounds ? Clinton, Obama, and Gingrich? What the hell has happened?

  13. SteveH Says:

    “”but I think the fear is so deep and widespread that a “caring” president may trump a party talking fiscal responsibility”"
    Mr Frank

    Well if we’re so far gone as a country that a money printing 20 year collapse out bids the horrible lives we’ll leave our children and grandchildren for generations to come, then we damn well deserve all hell to descend on us the day after the 2012 election.

  14. Bob from Virginia Says:

    BTW here is a formula, very unscientific I know, based on Rasmussen that I use to predict possible election results: (very favorable*1)+(very favorable-favorable)*.5= percentage total likely votes. Using this one gets: 23%*1+(47-23)*.5=35 for Obama. I am assuming that 100% of those who are very favorable will vote for Obama while only 50% of those only somewhat favorable will vote for him.

    As for the unfavorable it would be (43%*1)+(53-43)*.5=48. Or 58% Republican and 42% Democrat, which is about the division of the House of Representatives.

  15. Don Carlos Says:

    Well, if the majority of voters are NOT angry at Obama and the Senate Dems, it doesn’t make a flip of a difference, does it? Angry as we may be, we will have to ride that train until the end of the line.

    If that’s the case, we maybe should all just shut up, unless we gain personal benefit from ‘therapeutic ventilation’.

    We resemble Venezuela more and more every day. I’m going to work on learning to love Hugo, errr… Hussein.

  16. SteveH Says:

    Bob, thats been my prediction or some months now. The 47% who voted against Obama in 08 has grown by AT LEAST 10%.

  17. rickl Says:

    My thoughts on the campaign so far are not printable in a decent blog.

  18. Mike Mc. Says:

    You are wrong. The Republican candidate will win. Go write your articles and relax.

    There was a time, a long time, during the very darkest days of the Iraq War when I felt like the lone holdout that we would win. Everyone took it as a lost cause. The Senate majority leader stated it publically. Before anyone ever even heard of something called a “surge” I said we would win, even though I had no idea how. I just knew we would.

    Why? Simple: because the alternative was literally unthinkable. There could not have been a world, at that time, where America lost to al Queda and Iran and have it still be a livable world.

    The same reasoning applies here with America. An Obama 2nd term is unthinkable. I mean in reality, not as some theory pundits espouse. An Obama 2nd term means America is over and America cannot yet be over.

    Not yet.

    Trust me on this. In July of 1863 many saw no way out. But there had to be a way out, and there was, and there will be here.

    Enough of the whining. A few more months and it will be Go Time.

  19. expat Says:

    I sure hope that Mitch Daniels demolishes the SOTU tonight.
    I saw over at PJM that Rahm Emmanuel says that Obama shouldn’t talk about the last 3 years, but focus on what he will do in the next term. My answer to that: We’ve all seen Charlie Brown and Lucy since our childhood. We won’t fall for the same BS again.

  20. armchair pessimist Says:

    Some national humiliation like the hostage crisis or worse might blow Obama’s reelection hopes to tatters. GOP senior management might stage a coup and impose a strong and undamaged candidate on the convention. A meteor might hit Martha’s Vineyard next summer.

    Failing that, there’s no help but lots of strong drink.

  21. Pat Dooley Says:

    Obama is not going to get any lucky break. The economy may improve a little, but it won’t improve for those who have lost their jobs or have been forced to take a low-paying job. The US dollar has already been down-graded once, yet the spending continues. States like Illinois and California are virtually bankrupt and could easily go bankrupt. There are looming debt crises everywhere you look and no willingness on the part of the elites to do anything more than kick the can down the road.

    The Obama administration has a number of festering scandals that can’t be contained for much longer. Fast and Furious, Solyandra, LightSquared, Keystone cancellation rewarding Buffet, Bailouts rewarding UAW, illegal Recess appointments, etc. etc. Issa is doing his job in keeping the pressure on the Administration. The MSM may not cover these scandals but PACs will.

    The middle east is now far more unstable after Obama’s meddling. Egypt faces the prospect of mass-starvation. Iran is continuing to stir up trouble and push forward with its nuclear weapons programs. Pakistan grows ever more unstable and they have nukes. Nothing good is going to happen in that part of the world.

    The Tea Party movement is angry at Obama and angry at the Republicans it helped elect in 2010. They have not fought nearly hard enough to stop Obama or Obamacare. I know there is a lot of organizing taking place at the grass-roots. My wife has working virtually full-time on Tea Party issues. They track issues at the local, state and federal levels, broadcast action alerts when politicians need to be wised-up. A lot of Tea Party pressure stopped SOPA dead in its tracks. They issue report cards on candidates, hold training seminars on how to get active in the politics, and do the occasional rally. It is grass-roots, behind the scenes grunt work, but it will pay-off in the primary season and 2012.

    No matter who the GOP nominates, Obama loses.

  22. SteveH Says:

    I knew Obama was going down some weeks ago when my lifelong liberal friend had his Obama bumper sticker tacked on his cork board in his kitchen. If this guy wont put it on his car, something is horribly wrong in Obamaville.

  23. Curtis Says:

    You know who gets vicious: people without a job and the people with a job afraid they might not have a job being made to pay for the expenses of those who don’t have a job.

  24. SteveH Says:

    This time next year, we’ll see 500,000 jobs added per month. Get your ducks in a row and hang on for the ride,

  25. davisbr Says:

    This column really hit a chord. …so I apologize up front, as this is going to be a long response, neo (& all). Sorry.

    …“may you live in interesting times.”

    …as in living within the old Chinese curse perhaps (where did I first read that? …some old Heinlein novel or novella?)

    …and quite a curse it is.

    But during those moments when you’re sure you’re living in that curse, maybe it would help to contrast that now, with the not-so-idyllic-either, days past? I’ll take these current hardships over those of, say 1864 …or 1930 …or 1941 anytime.

    Perspective always helps: we stand on the shoulders of giants. We’ll muddle through somehow.

    …how the term “flip-flop” is used as a pejorative and whether it means more than to change one’s mind

    This. I spent a good deal of the morning pondering this.

    Can we fairly hold public politicians to some standard of pristine private perfection that we ourselves cannot personally meet?

    As a people …as voters …we never could before …though God knows we’ve tried.

    As voters …maybe it’s enough this time to just do our best to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    …the unease of the campaign season began as the first candidates I would have liked to have seen enter the race refused to do so

    Ah.

    In my case, it was she who must not be named who did not run …a populist political star, whom I unexpectedly found I could admire both in her public and private personas …at which point I realized none of the likely choices were going to be palatable, for all the usual reasons …reasons that their detractors generally too clumsily, though effectively enumerate (as their blemishes are simply that apparent) – including me, though I try not to – but which are generally true-ish, more’s the pity.

    …I’ve never felt so negative about a slate in all the years I’ve been observing these things (although I have to say that the 2008 Republicans were a close second).

    LOL.

    In 2008, it was Anyone But McCain (in the primaries). Afterwards, it became a choice between the lesser of two evils.

    …until McCain pulled that jewel out of his hat (and then proceeded to treat it like colored glass, and so lost).

    In 2012, the choices are between the least worst, and worst-worst (in the primaries), as the best have departed – or never really entered – the lists.

    But the difference in these primaries is who would make the best leader, for a damaged country & polity, amongst the remaining abysmal choices. (I discount the polls, the partisans, and the hype …unlike 2008, any of ‘em will suit me in the end, if this lot is all we’ve got).

    You fight the war with the army you’ve got, not the one you wanted.

    …with more enthusiasm than I, seem to think victory’s in the bag. That we could nominate anyone …and the country will vote for him/her …nor does it mean that the majority of voters wouldn’t be even more repulsed by the Republican candidate du jour.

    Ah. But here we differ …and here, I would perhaps offer some contrast.

    Out here in the hustings, with people so far removed from the coastal elites and the political classes that they’re barely recognizable as the typical citizenry of our nation to those self-selected “elites” …the people actually are angry. And they are afraid ..for themselves and their children.

    Out here in the real world, the real “election” is going to be about food and shelter and work and jobs.

    Out here in the real world, the real “election” is going to be about the lost hopes for the future we see slipping away, due to the stupidity and avarice and greed and malfeasance of those who have abused their positions of responsibility…evil that is evident even to people who seldom pay attention, but now must.

    Out here we may not understand how this was done to us, but we’re not blind, and we know who did this.

    Out here in the real world, and it’s trite to say it, but it’s about the economy.

    Out here in the real world, Obama hasn’t a chance.

    Just so.

    HTH.

  26. davisbr Says:

    Jeezus. There were a dozen plus posts while I worked on this.

    …it hit a chord in a bunch of us, I see.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    SteveH: ask that same man which Republican candidate he’d be willing to vote for, if any.

    That’s not a rhetorical question. I’d really like to know. Because of course Obama’s in trouble, that’s not the issue. My concern is that despite that, the Republican candidates are in even more trouble.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Bob Kantor: my point was not that the class warfare on both sides is equal. Of course it is not.

    My point is this: I expect it from the left; it’s their bread and butter, as it were. But I have never seen it coming from the right before, and now I see a lot of it, both by certain candidates (notably Perry and Gingrich), but also and especially in comments sections around the blogosphere. There is a populist hatred, especially of the rich of a certain type (the “finance guys” rather than those who are “business people who make goods and services”), and that hatred is as vicious as anything I’ve seen on the left, and is being purposely fanned. That is one of the reasons I do not support candidate Gingrich (not the only one, but it’s a large one). Class hatred is also part (only part, but a significant part) of the virulence of the dislike for Romney, who’s seen as the rich spoiled guy, as well as for those mythical “Republican elites.”

    It’s not exactly the same as on the left. But it’s bad, it’s growing—and it’s a lot more shocking (to me at least) coming from the right than coming from the left.

    Your last paragraph describes some of the results of these demons of class warfare being unleashed. If that were to happen, the right would not have clean hands either.

  29. Jim Nicholas Says:

    neo-neocon,

    I much appreciate your time, research, and thought behind your writing in this blog. I understand why you can’t get to all of the ideas.

    Best wishes

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  31. chuck Says:

    There is a populist hatred

    If the heart of the Republican Party is now the South, it is well to remember that the same part of the country was at the heart of Roosevelt’s coalition. It’s not straight class warfare, as in equality, but class warfare in the sense of fairness. If the perception is that someone has benefited unfairly, ala Corzine and his ilk, see Tom above, then folks would just as soon string ‘em up on a tree. I have a good deal of sympathy with that. Romney’s background is perhaps too narrow and geographically limited for him to appreciate that. And he is probably temperamentally unsympathetic to that point of view in any case.

  32. Parker Says:

    Mr. Frank pretty much covered why there is so much anger in society. I would only add that the left, especially the president, are betting their whole strategy on fomenting class hatred and envy. BHO can not run on his record as POTUS, his only option is to he demonize the wealthy and talk about the inequality of income distribution. This is so ironic given his ties to the likes of Goldman Sachs and his cadre of wealthy donors.

    I think BHO can be defeated if the republican nominee makes his campaign about BHO’s record and explains his ideas on how to begin turning the economy around. 50+% of the voters are not stupid and a large percentage are not hardcore partisans. The ‘independents’ do not see BHO favorably according to the polls and they are waiting to hear what the challenger proposes. Be of good cheer.

  33. gcotharn Says:

    neo, are you asserting that Romney is being punished, by the right, b/c of class warfare and b/c he is “a finance guy”?

    If so, I disagree. Rick Santelli is a finance guy, and he sparked the entire Tea Party movement.

    Romney is getting punished b/c he is a stiff. The conservative middle does not relate to him at a human level: body language, unwillingness to put himself at risk for the sake of principle, and more – for a bunch of reasons, both conscious and instinctive.

    Ace of Spades observations re voters not warming to Romney:

    … our sensing of [onstage Romney] constantly analyzing his own performance and wondering how it’s coming off– which gets perceived as showing dishonesty, because that’s what we usually attribute excessive caution and calibration as meaning.
    [...]
    Another one of Romney’s problems — if I had to guess — is that he’s a very Type-A, very organized personality type, and he does most things very well. And sometimes with people like that, they wind up being excessively defensive — they’re not used to losing, or erring, or just screwing up, and don’t have the ability to easily just acknowledge errors.
    [...]
    The problem goes deeper, because that sort of person becomes very uncomfortable in their bad moments, jangly and prickly with defensiveness and a controlled hostility, and human beings feel that, and have an unpleasant feeling themselves.

    I don’t even know what I’d advise him, because the advice I’d offer — “You know how you are? Yeah, be someone else entirely” — is just silly.

    I agree with Ace of Spades. I do not believe, for even one moment, that Repub voters reject Romney due to his being a finance guy.

  34. Mike Mc. Says:

    Tonight and especially tomorrow Newt and Romney need to be on their games criticizing Obama’s SOTU.

    I just thought, I don’t have to hope Sarah Palin will be tearing him another new one come tonight and tomorrow. I know she will. She does not need to be coaxed. She is, as the say, a natural.

    It is not too too too late even for that. Not quite yet. They used to say the campaigns don’t get started until Labor Day. We have only had three primaries in three of the smallest States.

    That’s like the first few laps of the Indy 500.

  35. gellieba Says:

    Poll: 51% of likely voters want Keystone oil pipeline built.
    Reading: 49% of likely voters DO NOT want Keystone Oil pipeline built.

    http://www.bluegrasspundit.com/2012/01/poll-51-of-likely-voters-want-keystone.html

    Unless we have a nominee who can clearly articulate conservative principles with solutions as how to fix the marasm we are in, Obama is here to stay. Anf if re-elected, Obama is here to stay for a long time. Dictators never lose election; they buy it.
    For the good of this great country, I hope I am wrong.

  36. Curtis Says:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71837_Page2.html

    Now Newt is Reagan.

    The political climate is so fluid, it resembles turbulence. I always liked a good wind as long as I felt it wasn’t life threatening.

  37. rickl Says:

    Yes, anger is rising, all right. Normal Americans are watching our country being stolen right out from under us. Leftists are being whipped into a fury by racial and class warfare demagoguery. The pressure relief valves have been welded shut. It doesn’t take a Nostradamus to see where all this is heading.

  38. Steven Says:

    The only thing that gives me hope is that Obama has been able to mostly lay low over the last few months while the Republicans have been busy tearing each other apart publicly. Obama’s approval rating seems to rise whenever he doesn’t say much for a while. When he comes back and starts drawing attention to himself, his approval rating falls.

    Eventually, the Republican intramural fight will end, and a nominee will be chosen. No Republicans will be attacking him anymore. And the campaign will force Obama to return to the limelight (which won’t really require much arm twisting). At that point things will start to look up for the Republican, whoever he is. Don’t know if he’ll win, but I think things are not as bleak as they look today.

  39. NeoConScum Says:

    Newt: Unsuitable due to Temperament(and massive baggage). Unelectable.

    Mitt: Suitable. But, NO fire in his belly. The absence of a BIG Issue-Message from him is a huge mistake. His campaign seems more inept, unfocused and stumbling with each passing day. It baffles and scares hell out of me because the horrific Obama can–who’da thunk??–win as a result. Huge Times…Vastly Important…NO sure footed winnable Republican. Boggles my mind and frightens me profoundly.

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    chuck: I’m fundamentally unsympathetic to any argument about the economy or capitalism that proceeds from the idea of “fairness,” be it coming from the left or the right.

    Ponzi schemes, insider trading, child labor, etc.—things that are illegal I’m against, of course (I’m not completely laissez faire). But “unfairness” is a slippery slope, and rests in the eye of the beholder. We were all riding high in the bubble years, winking at the fact that a lot of it was built on air and could not be sustained.

    Capitalism is capitalism, and it runs on greed:

  41. Curtis Says:

    There once was a man named Job. He had a lot responsibility and expectations to meet. He felt he was doing all right until some sort of darkness crept in. It wasn’t long before all Hell broke loose and he didn’t know who he was anymore. People clawed at him from all sides and said he should despise his name, that he was a victim, and that there was someone to blame.

    Job wasn’t exactly pure, but he was resilient and he resisted. He wondered how the blamers had arrived at their conclusions, why they felt compelled to bemoan their station, why they demanded anything in this world where one was born naked and squalling.

    Finally, he figured out that it was his attitude, his belief that was hated because it believed in good. And he decided to resist the haters and gave thanks and held a feast and celebration of his renewed faith. Many were attracted and they came and begin to work and Job was restored. His final station was many times his former.

  42. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: Romney is being “punished” for many many many reasons. If the hard right liked him, they’d wink at him being a “finance” guy. It would not matter at all.

    But they are whipping up (and also displaying, cynically or otherwise) and fanning already-existent populist anger at the “finance guys.” They know how to exploit it. It’s a very dangerous and hypocritical game they are playing, and I detest them for it.

    Other reasons Romney is being “punished”: They don’t want to support (and in some cases hate) him for being so stiff, for being what used to be called a square, for having been the compromising governor of a liberal state, among other things.

  43. davisbr Says:

    Curtis? – You da’ man.

  44. Mike Mc. Says:

    Newt is not unelectable. The man ran the wildly popular Contract for America deal. He changed the country for the better. He is ten times more electable than a nobody from nowhere who no one ever heard of and who never did a damn thing in his life or worked an honest job in his life Obama.

    Do you people really believe everything the Dem Propaganda Wing known as the media tells you? They tell you he can’t be elected because they know he can! And it scares the hell out of them. Buck up!

    I also heard today that Romney paid $3m in taxes and $4m to charity! That is unreal! He also would have no problem beating the hood from Chicago.

    In truth, anyone actually could beat Obama this year. Bristol Palin could beat Obama this year if she was eligible.

    People to not vote for the freaking Titanic when they know there are lifeboats. There is simply nothing to vote “Obama” for. he’ll get his 43% maybe 45% of the takers and tyrants in the Dem Party. Half of America WILL NOT vote for Obama.

    They simply will not. That is more people right now than say he is doing a good job. That is way more people right now than say the country is headed in the right direction.

    Is Not Going To Happen.

  45. expat Says:

    gcotharn,

    I agree that people don’t relate to Romney. He doesn’t communicate well. But I think this defect was compounded by the Bain and tax return attacks, which he countered very poorly. He is too closed, and people can’t trust a gut feeling to give him the benefit of the doubt on any accusations.

  46. chuck Says:

    proceeds from the idea of “fairness,”

    So, what about equality before the law, which is closely related. I don’t think you grasp what “fairness” means in this context.

  47. Mike Mc. Says:

    And another thing….

    I WANT class warfare right now. We need a good cold civil war or we are going to have a hot one.

    The class war is the ruling class and their army of takers and dependencies.

    No more!

    We should be thinking Braveheart Battle Scenes and not Let’s All get Along.

    Where the hell is Mel Gibson when you really need him?

    Afraid of class war? I got your class war. Bring it on. It’s about time someone stood up to those bullies of the taker and tyrant class. It’s way past time.

  48. neo-neocon Says:

    chuck: what are you talking about? I was responding to the following comment of yours:

    If the heart of the Republican Party is now the South, it is well to remember that the same part of the country was at the heart of Roosevelt’s coalition. It’s not straight class warfare, as in equality, but class warfare in the sense of fairness. If the perception is that someone has benefited unfairly, ala Corzine and his ilk, see Tom above, then folks would just as soon string ‘em up on a tree. I have a good deal of sympathy with that. Romney’s background is perhaps too narrow and geographically limited for him to appreciate that. And he is probably temperamentally unsympathetic to that point of view in any case.

    That’s a different kind of “fairness” (economic fairness) than is being discussed when people speak of equality under the law! I specifically said I wasn’t referring to breaking the law (Ponzi schemes, etc).

    When people say the tax burden should be more “fair,” for example, they don’t mean that the existing rules are somehow being applied unequally based on race or something like that. They mean that the rules themselves need to be changed to conform to some idea of what would be economically “fair,” and that capitalism itself needs to be made more intrinsically fair. That’s the slippery slope to which I referred.

  49. rickl Says:

    The heart of the matter is this: Democracy is not and never has been a stable form of government. It will always degenerate into class envy and mob rule. The Founders were perfectly aware of this, which is why they created a republic, “if you can keep it”. We haven’t kept it. Today we have a nearly pure democracy, and the results are utterly predictable.

    Any society which allows the people riding in the wagon the same voting rights as the people pulling the wagon is doomed. It is that simple, and there is no way around it.

    Fix that problem, and there is no way a creature like Obama could ever get near a position of power.

  50. Pat Dooley Says:

    Neo says “Capitalism is capitalism, and it runs on greed”. To which I would say it runs on fear; fear of losing to the competition. Everyone knows their company is going to lose in the long run. In my industry, I’ve seen the mighty IBM fall to Intel and Microsoft, who have, in turn fallen to Google and Apple. These losers are still in business and will likely last a long while. Just like Kodak.

  51. neo-neocon Says:

    Pat Dooley: did you watch the video clip? That explains the “greed” statement.

  52. Curtis Says:

    Thanks davis, I appreciate that coming from you. I have a great respect for Bible stories.

    Capitalism is a chimera, a non-entity, at least until property and goodness is respected enough to create it. Before Capitalism is anarchy and despotism.

    So how dare anyone say Capitalism is greed. It doesn’t rest on greed. Greed is the inferior forms that predate Capitalism. Capitalism does not even exist until certain basic measures against man’s greed and avaricious nature are coded and enforced in some manner. Capitalism is not greed, it is law and liberty.

  53. Curtis Says:

    We’re really fluid here, Neo. I didn’t say what you attributed to me. That comment is way too nuanced for me. Whoever said it is about three times more intelligent than I.

    And they know a lot too.

  54. rickl Says:

    Mike Mc. Says:
    January 24th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I WANT class warfare right now. We need a good cold civil war or we are going to have a hot one.

    The class war is the ruling class and their army of takers and dependencies.

    And their bulls-eye is painted on the middle class, aka the “bourgeoise”. Be careful what you wish for.

    We’re already in a cold civil war, and have been for about a decade or so. I don’t remember where I first saw the phrase, but it was several years ago.

    Most middle class people who are independent and in control of their lives don’t especially hate or envy the rich. I have a comfortable life and everything I need, so what do I care if a Warren Buffett or a Bill Gates is a billionaire?

    The targets of class warfare rhetoric are the poor, and despite all the talk about “the rich”, they are really encouraged to hate that guy on the next block, who has a little more than they do. “Rich” is relative, after all.

    The ruling class rich aren’t afraid of the poor, since they live in gated compounds with private security. The poor aren’t going to attack them. No, the object of class warfare demagoguery is to get the poor to hate the middle class. They’re much easier pickings. Divide and conquer.

  55. Curtis Says:

    Neo, you were talking to Chuck, weren’t you.

    Damn, and I got a facial tic out of the whole thing.

  56. Mike Mc. Says:

    Rickl,

    I am sure you are right – that the object of the rhetoric is the Middle Class. They want us destroyed.

    Fine! Good!

    Let’s have at it!!!

    Careful what I wish for? Shouldn’t that read ‘Careful what they call for’?

    Do you really think they are going to win this without a fight?

    No way. The only problem is we have too many fretters so far and not enough fighters.

    More fighters. We need more. The ones who won’t fight, don’t count. Don’t want to hear them. Not listening.

    There is the story of Gideon and the whole host of Midian against Israel. And how only the 300 who lapped water like dogs were worth the fight, and how they won.

    We need the dogs.

    Let the kitties go eat some kitty food or something. I could really care less.

  57. neo-neocon Says:

    Curtis: yes, I’d written “curtis” first, a typo. My bad. I corrected it, but not before you got your tic.

  58. rickl Says:

    I did watch the Friedman clip, and enjoyed it. I have a quibble with the terminology, though.

    Ayn Rand described capitalism as “trading value for value”. If I have earned some money from productive work and want to buy a carton of milk (since I can’t drink my money), I’ll take my money to a grocery store. At that moment I value the milk more than the money, so I’ll willingly trade the money for the milk. Meanwhile, the store owner values the money more than the milk (which will spoil if it sits there unsold), so he will also willingly make the trade. We both go away satisfied.

    “Greed” is better defined as lusting after that which one has not earned. Trying to swindle somebody or get something for nothing is greedy. It should be obvious that the proponents and recipients of class warfare and redistribution of wealth display more greed than any capitalist.

  59. Curtis Says:

    Tea Party anyone?

  60. Curtis Says:

    Please don’t worry about my tic, Neo. It balances out my Tourettes syndrome jerks.

  61. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl: you can define greed in your own way if you want, but that’s not the definition of the word. The definition does not deal with wanting something you haven’t earned, or doing it through swindling. Although those things are indeed greedy, greedy does not necessarily include them; you can be greedy and yet earn what you have, and you can be greedy without swindling.

    The definition of greed is: “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed .” here’s another definition: “An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.”

    Even the Christian “seven deadly sins” definition of greed conforms to the same rules.

    Outside of the religious realm, who’s to decide what’s selfish? Who’s to decide what’s excessive? We all have more than we need, unless we just have the bare bones necessary to sustain life. The desire for more than we absolutely “need” is one of the main motivation for and drivers of capitalism.

  62. Curtis Says:

    How great thou art!

    God, how great thou art!

    And so, upon that declaration and it’s acknowledgment rests our nation’s future.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLLMzr3PFgk

  63. Mike Mc. Says:

    http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/01/24/obama-is-toast/

  64. rickl Says:

    neo:

    An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves

    I wasn’t talking about “need”, but the “or deserves” is exactly what I meant.

    If I earn money and buy a TV, that’s not greed. If I earned the money through legitimate work, then I deserve whatever I can buy with it.

    But if a burglar breaks into my house and steals it, that is greed. He did nothing to earn it or deserve it.

  65. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl: but don’t you see that the problem is that you are putting your own idiosyncratic definition of “deserves” into the definition of greed? It does not mean you get more than you legally earn or more than you work for; it’s more than you deserve.

    “Finance guys,” Romney at Bain, famous pitchers, Lady Gaga, different people think some of them get more than they deserve, given the work they do. But no one is accusing them of theft; just of greed.

    There is a big difference. Although you can make a definition that fits exactly what you want to say, it’s still not the way the word is defined.

    When a burglar breaks into your house and steals something, it is the crime of theft (and breaking and entering). The motivation may be one or several of many things: greed, kleptomania, or the desire to get some money to feed a starving child. You are mixing apples and oranges.

  66. rickl Says:

    neo:
    I guess I’m not seeing it.

    I don’t know enough about finance to know whether Romney at Bain deserved the money he was paid. I haven’t offered an opinion about it for that reason. I’d assume he earned the money legitimately (and thus deserves it) unless I had cause to believe otherwise.

    As for baseball pitchers and Lady Gaga, they deserve whatever people are willing to pay them. I don’t buy Lady Gaga’s records, but if a gazillion other people do, then she deserves a gazillion dollars. It’s none of my business.

  67. rickl Says:

    When a burglar breaks into your house and steals something, it is the crime of theft (and breaking and entering). The motivation may be one or several of many things: greed, kleptomania, or the desire to get some money to feed a starving child. You are mixing apples and oranges.

    I didn’t see that paragraph before I posted my last comment, but I see what you’re saying there. Still, I think the most common motivation of burglars is greed (wanting something for nothing), more than the other possible reasons.

  68. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl: you and I have no idea what the most common motivation of burglars is. It certainly may be “wanting something for nothing,” but even that’s not necessarily greed unless the burglar already has more than he/she needs. If a burglar doesn’t already have more than he needs and breaks into a house, I suppose you might more properly call it laziness rather than greed.

    Their motivations are irrelevant, however, to the definition of the word. Some people think no rich people “deserve” what they have, and that it all is a form of theft from the little guy and the poor, even if it is arrived at by completely legitimate means. Greed is mostly definitely not a term limited to illegal activities.

  69. rickl Says:

    Some people think no rich people “deserve” what they have, and that it all is a form of theft from the little guy and the poor, even if it is arrived at by completely legitimate means. Greed is mostly definitely not a term limited to illegal activities.

    Well, I guess I have a problem with the dictionary, then.

    Now we seem to be getting into the realm of “zero sum economics”.

  70. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl: got trouble with the dictionary? Try the Humpty Dumpty approach, then:

    ‘[T]hat shows that there are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents — ‘

    `Certainly,’ said Alice.

    `And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!’

    `I don’t know what you mean by “glory,”‘ Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

    `But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument,”‘ Alice objected.

    `When _I_ use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’

    `The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.’

    `The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master—that’s all.’

  71. RickZ Says:

    expat Says:

    January 24th, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I sure hope that Mitch Daniels demolishes the SOTU tonight.

    I saw over at PJM that Rahm Emmanuel says that Obama shouldn’t talk about the last 3 years, but focus on what he will do in the next term. My answer to that: We’ve all seen Charlie Brown and Lucy since our childhood. We won’t fall for the same BS again.

    Somebody should explain to Mr. ‘Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste’ Emmanuel that Owebama is giving a State Of The Union address. If I wanted a ‘Future Of The Union’ address, I’ll listen to Owebama’s (perpetual) campaign stump speaches, or hire Miss Cleo.

  72. expat Says:

    Here’s that MoDo column I mentioned on an earlier thread.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/opinion/sunday/dowd-showtime-at-the-apollo.html?_r=2

    Now if we could only get Behar to this point, we might win some points with women.

    Please read.

  73. NeoConScum Says:

    I NEVER watch Obama speeches of any type. Hey, same for Repub debates. Always save my head popping mess on the ceiling and cooly check things out the next day. That said, I take it that The Boy King sternly finger wagged at us Americans and said that we need to, BY GOD, see “American values restored”…!!!

    Living-breathing proof that Orwellian ’84 World exists right there at the White House. Horrifying more & more each day. His Infantile Majesty and(Cough!!)”American(Cough!!)VALUES”?? Alice is utterly stuck in the Bunny Hole.

    Marco Rubio for President with Fire Breathing Chris Christie or Econogenius Paul Ryan for VP! Mitt is too damned Tepid(and appearing more so each day) and Newt is a shipwreck awaiting MSM & Democrat Handlers. AND, beyond that, Newt is entirely Temperamentally UNSUITABLE.

  74. robert Says:

    I think Mitt has a trouble connecting because of regional biases. It is always difficult for a North Eastern to win national elections. As far as Bain capital and his tax returns, this is a propaganda piece. Obama was rich when he ran for President. I’ve not heard anything about how much he has given to charity.

    I also believe that part of the propaganda is to not let people know that the rich invest the vast majority of their money. The money invested makes us all better off. In fact, a lot of them probably have their money in government bonds.

    I do not hear the democrats complaining about how much movie stars make compared to other actors, or how much quarterbacks make compared to Olympic athletes. There are many, many doctors driving Ferraris.

    It would be nice if Mitt could be as clear as Newt and Reagan are. Newt’s flip-flops bother me more than Romney’s since I think Mitt is more concerned about his reputation. If he had a problem with Ryan’s plan, say something to people in private. He should not be making an issue in public, and is he going to side with the Democrats once President?

    If I had to give advise to Mitt it would be:
    1) Savings and Investment are good. If more people did it, more people in the country would be rich and we would all be better off.
    2) There is nothing wrong with being responsive to the desires of your consituancy. This was the reason for the American Revolution. Kings can keep the same opinion and policy for their entire reign. For govenours and presidents their opinions are only important to the point where they fullfil the needs and desires of the people who hired them. In America, the president serves at the pleasure of the people.

  75. armchair pessimist Says:

    I think you can resent rich people in your heart all you want, but as conservatives we realize that nobody is sufficiently wise and good to hold the power to decide what is fair, ie, who shall give and who shall receive. Which is why we mistrust and fear a government that asserts that power.

    So this bickering between Newt & Mitt is not only destructive but stupidly shallow.

  76. Mike Mc. Says:

    The idea that Newt is “tempermentaly unsuitable” a loose canon, a thing that could go off at any moment, a wild card, liable to mood swings, love him today hate him tomorrow person…..AND that this is somehow a problem, are wrong.

    Newt is probably the lone contender who could blow up Washington exactly where it needs to be blown up, and do it and know it from the inside, and get it done because he knows how.

    If the idea, for example, was to blow up the EPA, Newt could do it by Friday a week. Romney would study it for two years and recommend a name change.

    He is not quite my guy, but he may be the exact President this historical moment demands.

    Temperment? We have Vladimir Lenin Obama. Very even tempered. Surrenders and enslaves with grace and the ease of a cool dancer.

    There are days, many days, I wonder either I am crazy or the rest of the world is.

    Newt would be a brilliant energetic President. In fact, everyone KNOWS this in their hearts. It is why most people want him destroyed.

  77. neo-neocon Says:

    Mike Mc.: wow, just wow. Everyone KNOWS this in their hearts, and that’s why we want him destroyed?

    First, the projection. Then, the paranoia. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Whatever.

    The first part of the slogan sounds awfully familiar, though:

  78. vanderleun Says:

    Well, in my heart, I know this is nuts.

  79. Greta Says:

    If americans are not angry at this point something is radically wrong. Nothing is working well and attacks are being made on our core beliefs and our love of country. you want to see a parent get mad, break into their home and start beating up their kids. Many of us have a love for the actual Constitution as written and for the America that is one nation UNDER God. We belive that our rights do not come from Government, but from our Creator. We believe that government is best that is very limited and very small. We believe if you see a big government program, if you kick over a rock, you will find a thousand bugs under it eating away at our liberty and our core values while spending our own money to do it. We are sick of the class warfare where up to 50% of the people pay nothing and whine about that not being fair – to them. We are sick of Obama, but about as sick of RINO’s. We do not want Romney and believe this was demonstrated last time when he couldn’t even beat McRino.
    We liked Newt even when everyone was bashing him because he had a passion for gaining power with the contract with America and did his best to bring those things about while fighting the RINO’s that never want to work with conservative Americans. We smell that they do not like us and refuse to be used as African Americans are by the Demcrats with verbage and a few free pieces of cheese. We know the country is in deep trouble and know that getting us out of it will require someone with passion.
    So you could say, yes, we are angry and if we do not see the Republican Party as listening, we will leave forever. The Republican Party was beaten your way by Obama which shows how idiotic it is to follow the establishment elites leadership. Obama would not have been beaten by an actual conservative who could articulate the conservative values for those values are still the core of American belief. Newt is the only one left standing that can accomplish this and if elected, we will continue to hold his feet to the fire as we did W. Bush when he tried to put Meyers in as a pro life judge. We know now that we cannot let up when we see someone like W. standing with someone like Teddy Kennedy. Newt sat with Pelosi and clearly admitted is was a huge mistake. We know he knows that if he does it again, he will lose support and be remembered as a failure. We trust newt if elected will want to be remembered in history and that path is radical change to a smaller government under God.

  80. davisbr Says:

    …good writing Greta. TY.

  81. Richard Saunders Says:

    I love Newt. He’s smarter than the whole Elite 8 plus the Hawaiian guy put together. But he’s not electable. Period. He can’t get enough independents and Reagan Democrats to vote for him. The American people will not elect a spiteful, vindictive, vituperative, priapic candidate as President. That’s just the way it is.

    So, Greta, your choice is a President whom you disagree with 99% of the time or a President with whom you agree 65% of the time. Which do you chose?

    I was at the Cow Palace in ’64. We had the same idea as you Greta — if only the American people could see the quality of our thought and the purity of our cause! Well, they couldn’t and didn’t and we got LBJ as a result. Been there, done that, have no intention of doing it again!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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